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Our Marvelous Musicians Remember Michael Tracey White
Written By: Tish Michel
*Click images below to view larger versions.
Our Marvelous Musicians Remember Michael Tracey White
Ron Pucino playing with Michael Tracey White (on standup bass) at Coconuts Beach Bar & Grille, in August, 2006.
Our Marvelous Musicians Remember Michael Tracey White
Michael played drums with the Chest Pains in the ‘80s; the new Chest Pains, Chris, Joe Mama, Jeff & Byron, ended the day on a rockin’ note.
Our Marvelous Musicians Remember Michael Tracey White
Friend and fellow drummer Joe Mama with Aunt Pat & Michael’s father Gene White celebrating Michael’s life & legacy of music.
    Believe it or not, it’s been five years since our dear friend Michael Tracey White passed away.  We celebrated his life today at Coconuts.  Just about every musician in town who didn’t have a gig elsewhere showed up to take part in MUSIC FOR MICHAEL DAY. From the time Michael was a teen on up until his death, he played at just about every venue around with just about every musician in town. Michael was a musician’s‚ musician if you know what I mean. He wrote songs, sang, and played drums, bass and guitar. He could play just about anything with anyone and he made us all have a great time with his own unique style of entertainment.
    We are so blessed to have such a wonderful musical community in Ocean City!  Let me tell you who showed up today.  The first people I saw were Michael’s charming father Gene White and his fabulous Aunt Pat.  They both looked wonderful and were so delighted that our musicians again organized a tribute for their beloved Michael.  
    Today’s event was organized by Joe Mama, Kevin Poole and Randy Lee Ashcraft.  Randy also was MC for the event and ran sound.  Needless to say, Randy was a very busy guy and had everyone sounding great - the event seemed to run smooth as silk.  Huge hats off to Randy as he, John Remy, Ken Roughton, and Eric Campbell got the music started shortly after 2.  Linda Sears and Dave Sherman soon joined the group. Then a musician I didn’t know, Ed Smullen, took over on drums and did an awesome job singing a blues tune.
    John Remy told us how he use to run Adam’s Rib in Chesapeake Beach and would frequently book Michael Tracey White and the rest of the Joy Buzzers.  John also shared that he had a recording studio in Ocean View and Michael and the original Chest Pains recorded an album there.
    The next group of musicians included Jimmy Rowbottom, Joe Mama, Joe Smooth and Kevin Poole. Kevin knew how Michael adored swing music so his set included “More,” “All of Me,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Love Is All I Have to Give to You,” “Just a Gigolo,” and ended with one of Michael’s favorite songs, “The Way You Look Tonight.”
    Kevin shared that he and Joe Mama were playing at the Rio Grande when they heard of Michael’s passing. He said that a number of musicians gathered there that day to share in their grief. Kevin said they ended the day playing The Beatles “Places I Remember” and there was not a dry eye in the house. After this Kevin told us how Michael was working on a CD at Kevin’s studio when he died.  Kevin finished mastering the CD and made copies for Michael’s family and some of the musicians in town who worked on the CD with Michael.  Kevin played this CD entitled Swing Sounds for Now People while the musicians regrouped and it was so great hearing this CD representing Michael’s final musical recording. Wow, Kevin - thanks for making it possible to share this music!
    Hearing this CD reminded me about how generous Michael was. I asked him to donate a CD for a benefit I was organizing for musicians in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina.  Michael said sure but instead of giving me one of his Little Professor CDs, he gave me an entire case. That was so typical of our Michael.
    Next up was Mike Smith. Mike is married to Castle in the Sand’s GM Patricia.  It was a treat that he was in town today and could share his music with us. He was followed by Two Guys & a Mama (Chris Button, Dave Sherman & Joe Mama).  Dave Sherman started with a rock-a-billy tune that Michael loved;  It was Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day.”  Dave shared a most interesting experience he recently had. He told us how he was playing solo at Harpoon Hannah’s. He looped two chord progressions and when he hit the button there was a base line he hadn’t programmed.  He said the hair stood up on the back of his neck and then he looked up to the sky and thought “Michael Tracey White - you snuck that in - thanks!” Dave definitely believes there is something on the other side and his pal Michael who produced and played on Dave’s CD visited him that afternoon at Harpoon Hannah’s.
    Not all of the musicians who showed up today got to play.  John LaMere came but had to leave before being asked to play as he had a private gig.  Darin Engh was also there waiting for Bobby Wilkinson so Opposite Directions could take the stage. Unfortunately, Bobby had an accident leaving the Pines to come to Coconuts. Fortunately he was not injured but he couldn’t make it. Bobby and Darin were great friends with Michael and loved to joke around with one another. I can recall that on many occasions at the end of the evening, Bobby and Darin would say, “If you liked us, we’re Opposite Directions - if not, we’re the Michael Tracey White band.”  Bobby, I so hope you are not hurting from your accident.
    Next, Randy and his band members, Ken and Jimmy, joined up with Jeff Davis and Joe Smooth. After a song or two, Billie Carlins added her awesome voice to the mix.  I really enjoyed the “Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy” and the Voodoo numbers.  Billie has an amazing voice and when she teams up with Randy it’s really special!
    Chest Pains was the last group to perform for the day. Jeff Davis and Byron Anthony were original members with Michael in the ‘80s.  Now Jeff and Byron are joined with Chris Button and Joe Mama and this new version of Chest Pains has really captivated Ocean City music lovers - the synergy of Chest Pains is simply incredible!
    All day long everyone was going up to Michael’s Dad and Aunt and everyone called his Aunt “Aunt Pat.”  I think this makes it official that we have all adopted her as our very own Aunt Pat. She shared with me that Michael’s son, Noah, is now 10 years old.  His school does not get out until 4 and he had a big test so he couldn’t come today.  She says Noah loves playing drums and is quite the sportsman playing soccer, football, baseball and lacrosse.  I told her that it would be wonderful if we have the MUSIC FOR MICHAEL DAY a little later in the day next year and perhaps Noah can join in on drums for a few numbers. Now that would really be something else!
    Aunt Pat got up to the mic and thanked everyone for their participation in the tribute for Michael. She said she had one word to sum up what she and Michael’s Dad thought about the musicians gathered today. That word is INCOMPARABLE - and I so agree with her.
    I must share a final story told to me by Jeff Davis.  He and another musician had a private gig with Michael. Michael told Jeff and the other guy to be sure to wear black pants, shirts and ties.  Meanwhile Michael shows up in khaki pants, a Hawaiian shirt and red tie.  When Jeff questioned Michael about this, Michael responded that he was appropriately dressed stating, “I’m the one in the middle.”  Oh, Michael, we surely miss you and your sense of humor!
    Thanks to our wonderful musicians for caring and sharing their talents with us today as we remember a dear friend!  I apologize in advance for any musicians I failed to mention. 
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